Government must do more on Ebola crisis

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has called on the Federal Government to give more support to the international fight against the growing Ebola crisis in West Africa.
More than 2600 people have already died across several countries, including Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Senegal, with healthcare workers comprising 10 per cent of all deaths.
“This is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said on Friday.
“As the disease continues to spread across countries throughout West Africa, we are greatly concerned that the lack of protective equipment means that nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers who are fighting on the frontline are being exposed to this deadly disease.
“In addition to financial assistance, we are calling on the Government to take direct action by committing trained personnel to a co-ordinated international, emergency response.
“This is what’s desperately needed to treat the victims of the disease, ensure the protection of healthcare workers on the ground and to stop the disease from spreading even further across West Africa.
“Massive numbers of healthcare professionals with appropriate clinical skills are urgently needed to fight the Ebola outbreak. The Australian Government must ensure that our nurses and doctors on the ground in West Africa are provided with protective clothing and equipment to ensure their health and safety and they must guarantee the safe evacuation of nurses and doctors from the region if needed.
“It is admirable that Australian nurses are joining in the international fight against the Ebola crisis and we are urging them to ensure they make arrangements through reputable aid agencies.
“In just twelve weeks, this outbreak of Ebola has become the worst ever. It is absolutely imperative that the Australian Government commits full support to defeat the West African Ebola crisis. This is the international fight we should be having.”
Ms Thomas said the ANMF is continuing to monitor the Ebola outbreak and is working with the international nursing union, National Nurses United, for updated information on the crisis as it unfolds.

The ANMF, with over 240,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

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